Suspense Examples in a Prayer for Owen Meany

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Different Ways John Irving Creates Suspense in A Prayer for Owen Meany

In John Irving's novel titled, A Prayer for Owen Meany, suspenseful events are of abundance, and there are multiple ways the author creates this suspense. Among these methods of creating suspense, four that stand out are the use of setting, the pace of the story, the involvement of mysteries to be solved, and the ability of the reader to easily identify and sympathize with the protagonist. By placing a character in a gloomy or solitary place, uncomfortable feelings are created, which append to the suspense. Pace and structure of the story also play into the foundation of suspense, as shorter sentences and stronger, more cutting verbs and adjectives are often used to keep the reader highly interested and reading at a rapid speed. Of course, suspense could not be considered what it is if there were no mystery involved. The element of not knowing what is in store for the future and having the urge to find out is the essence of suspense. Also, if the reader cannot easily relate to and sympathize with the character in the suspenseful situation, a loss of interest can arise, and therefore spoil the spirit of the tension. Uncomfortable settings, pace and structure, use of mysteries, and capability to relate to the main character are four techniques that John Irving uses to create suspense.

First, a key method used to create suspense is the usage of the setting. When a character is in an unwelcoming or uninviting location, uneasy or tense feelings can be formed. When there is a sense of not knowing what is around the corner or lurking in the shadows, suspense is created. Also, ominous weather, such as threatening thunderstorms, can lead the reader to anticipate an unfortunate event occurring. An example of an uncomfortable setting is the secret passageway, which is dark, dirty, and most often only occupied by a single individual. Under these conditions many people become anxious, and because of...
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